Prince William is expected to honour his mother Princess Diana’s charity work in Pakistan during his official five-day tour of the country starting on Monday (14).
Diana, Princess of Wales, was a close friend of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan through his former wife Jemima Goldsmith and had visited the country a number of times.
Her last visit to the country was in 1997, shortly before her death in Paris, to help raise funds for a cancer centre Khan built in Lahore.
“Details of the trip are being kept under wraps for security, but the couple — who will travel without their three children — will meet Pakistan’s president, Arif Alvi, and prime minister, Imran Khan, whom the Duke has known since his childhood,” The Sunday Times reported.
“It is thought William intends to honour his mother’s humanitarian work during the visit,” adds the report quoting royal sources.
Last week, Kensington Palace characterised the visit being undertaken by William, the Duke of Cambridge, with wife Catherine Middleton between October 14 and 18 as the “most complex” the royal couple have been a part of due to the security considerations in the region.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that more than 1,000 police personnel will secure the tour as the couple begin the visit, which follows on the request of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to strengthen the “extensive” links between Britain and Pakistan.
The newspaper also quoted Pakistan security sources as saying that they hoped the visit would enable Pakistan to highlight its condemnation of the Indian government’s decision to revoke the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistani officials said the itinerary of their five-day stay was being tightly guarded by the military, with local media only being told details at the last minute.
“This is the most complex tour undertaken by the Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations,” Kensington Palace had said in a statement related to the visit.
“Their Royal Highnesses will also spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan. They will learn more about the challenges and opportunities, both of the past and today. The UK has been a key partner for Pakistan, and the Duke and Duchess will meet UK and Pakistan military personnel who are sharing expertise to improve security,” it added.
During the tour, the royals are set to visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life. Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is seen as one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan and the royals will spend time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future.
The programme will also cover how communities in Pakistan are rapidly responding and adapting to the effects of climate change.
“This a key area of interest for Their Royal Highnesses; they are keen to learn more about the climate change issues affecting Pakistan and our world, and the positive work being undertaken to combat these challenges,” the palace said.
As with previous overseas visits, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.